The solution: Antoine Lavoisier, also known as Father of Modern Chemistry. Born Paris, 1743.
Lavoisier is known for his work on the conservation of mass (here is an accessible and contemporary article on the conservation of mass from an ecological standpoint), a theory which disproved the established phlogiston theory. Eloquent letters from Joseph Priestly in 1796 – a long-standing supporter of the theory of phlogiston – defending its merits can be found here.
Lavoisier’s scientific contributions beyond this were extensive and his contribution to the advancement of chemistry, at the time in its infancy, is unchallenged. Unfortunately though Lavoisier’s life was cut short, literally, as he was executed by guillotine at the age of 50. Of this, it was famously said:
Call it laziness, inspired variation or common sense, but due to the million profiles and biographies of Antoine Lavoisier already on the internet I did not feel a need to add another rehashed biography. I thought instead this weeks extended profile could be brought to you via youtube and some links (you can find wikipedia yourself).
A gentile biography of his work.
A more technical summary of his work.
A small but dedicated site with links and resources.
A nicely written piece on an Australian website who use Lavoisier as the face of their campaign for debate on global warming. Not what I expected! (I have no affiliation.)
And finally a very dramatic, but somewhat entertaining youtube biography of debatable merit. Enjoy.